Saturday, January 12, 2019

Sci-fi legend JOHN SCALZI SAYS NO to cli-fi. BUT a new book of 29 literary essays is an important contribution to the field of cli-fi studies and SAYS YES

JOHN SCALZI SAYS NO ......BUT new book of 29 literary essays is an important contribution to the field of cli-fi studies which says YES!!!!!

by staff writer with news services

January 1, 2019 -- British literary scholars Axel Goodbody and Adeline Johns-Putra are the editors behind a new volume of collected literary essays by writers around the world, and the theme is the rising new genre of climate fiction. While it's mostly geared for fellow academics and literary scholars, it will also appeal to the general reader, too, according to publishing industry sources. It's a rich, timely collection of over 25 essays that makes an important contribution to the field of environmental humanities. It does important work defining and charting the breadth and variety of cli-fi and is sure to appeal to those exploring cultural responses to the Age of Trump.

Its 29 chapters, 5 of of them  devoted to movies, the remainder to novels, range from cli-fi to genre science fiction through to literary modernism and young adult fiction, drawn from across Europe and North America, Australia and South Korea.


With chapters headings such as Psycho-Geographical Cli-Fi,  Geological Cli-Fi, Political Cli-Fi,  Urban Dystopian Cli-Fi, Post-Apocalyptic Cli-Fi and Biopunk Cli-Fi, among others, the collection features reviews of such novels as Ilija Trojanow’s ''The Lamentations of Zeno, ''Maggie Gee’s ''The Ice People''  and ''The Flood,'' T. C. Boyle’s ''A Friend of the Earth'' and Nathaniel Rich’s "Odds Against Tomorrow." Be sure to see the review of Liz Jensen's "Rapture," too.

There's also film reviews of Franny Armstrong’s 2009 documentary ''The Age of Stupid'' and Roland Emmerich’s 2004 international blockbuster ''The Day After Tomorrow.''

''Climate change fiction'' --also known as cli-fi -- is a new literary phenomenon that emerged at the turn of the 21st century.  While some cli-fi novels and films are set in the near future, many are also set in the present.

The book, which includes an introduction tracing the emergence and influence of cli-fi, is directed towards general readers and film enthusiasts as well as teachers and students. Written in an accessible style, it fills the gap between academic studies and online blogs, offering a comprehensive look at this timely new genre.

Not everyone is on board with cli-fi. Science fiction writer John Scalzi hasn't yet seen the light, and given his attitude, probobably never will, although fellow sci-fi writers Jeff VanderMeer and Paolo Bacigalupi have embraced the the term.

"I don't suspect the term will ever catch on," Scalzi says, not having read Goodbody and Putra-John's essay collection hightlighted here. "The phrase has been around for a few years and hasn't actually caught any real traction, [but I might wrong, since NPR, The Guardian, The New York Times, the Associated Press and Reuters News Service have all done major reports on the new genre since 2013 and even up to 2019. I just haven't been paying attention, I guess.]"

Scalzi's ''personal opinion'' which he posted on Facebook: ''In my  personal opinion, cli-fi does not sound terribly pleasant, sort of like a fungal growth or other thing you have to take medicine to get rid of. Now I'm not saying that climate change should not be addressed in fiction (speculative or otherwise) because, of course, it should."

Maybe after Scalzi reads this volume of academic 29 essays about cli-fi, and talks to Atwood and VanderMeer and Jensen and Bacigalupi about it, he will change his mind.

Time will tell.

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